238 bird deaths reported in Maharashtra, over 11,000 birds culled in Latur

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Pune, Jan 13 (PTI)As many as 238 birds including chickens were reported dead in Maharashtra on Wednesday and samples have been sent to the labs to check if avian influenza was the cause, officials from the Animal Husbandry department said.

The deaths were reported from Latur (18), Beed (3), Akola (3), Yavatmal (86), Ahmadnagar (7), Pune (13), Bhandara (79) and Solapur (9), among other districts.

The samples would be sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and DIS, Pune for testing.

A total of 2,096 bird deaths have been recorded in Maharashtra since January 8 when the outbreak of bird flu was noticed.

As per the earlier reports received from the Bhopal lab, samples from Mumbai, Ghodbunder (Thane district) and Dapoli for crows and herons and those of poultry birds from Muramba (Parbhani district) were found positive for H5N1 strain, while samples from Beed district were found positive for the H5N8 strain.

'Accordingly, these areas are being declared as an 'Infected Area' and action is being taken to enforce the prescribed preventive measures,' the official release said.

'As per these measures, all poultry birds within 1 km radius of the infected poultry farm at Muramba in district Parbhani (containing) approx 5,500 birds and 11,060 birds from Latur are being culled,' said the release.

Owners of poultry farms and general public should inform about unusual bird deaths, it said.

More than 300 poultry birds were found dead in Nagpur and other parts of Vidarbha in the last few days, an official said.

'We have sent 14 samples from Nagpur, Bhandara, Chandrapur and Gondia to Pune lab for testing. Today, 14 poultry birds were found dead at Kolamedi village in Nagpur district,' he said. PTI SPK KRK KRK